Transforming Scouts - More engaging learning


In the research undertaken across a wide range of volunteers over a period of time, we have learnt that:

  • Existing volunteers do not find the current training scheme lives up to what our
    volunteers need.
  • Our training scheme can feel overwhelming for new volunteers
  • Some learning is hard to access and requires finding more time available to
    attend courses
  • We do not have enough training advisers to support learners this also delays
    validation which can be frustrating for the learner
  • The average length of time someone volunteers is 2 years, but many volunteer
    role must complete the wood badge which can take up to 3 years to complete


The Transformation work is looking to change how we engage and deliver training in Scouts. 

Our journey of change looks like this:



An intimidating appointments process and inefficient processes
Volunteers feel welcomed, valued and at ease from day one.
‘Training’ and Training teams
Personalised learning when you need it, tailored to your volunteer role
Support and management of learning built into our structures and digital systems
Time-consuming administration, managing multiple learners, compliance and validation
Existing skills recognised and sign-off built in, no separate validation required
An off-putting digital learning experience
Digital first (but not Digital only) approach, revitalised learning modules including bite-sized learning, all in one place
Wood Badge required for almost every volunteer role
Wood Badge is optional and available to all


The transition from Training to Learning will put greater control in the hands of the volunteer. More content will be available in a digital format across all channels to make accessibility simple and at a time to suit the individual.


Making it easier to access

In response to widespread comment, splitting the learning into more “bite sized chunks” that can be put down and picked up to suit the available time of the individual will be possible.

Scouts are developing and testing different approaches to find the best ways to deliver learning to those who do not have access to digital tools. It is hoped that a clearer plan to support Digital First but not Digital Only, will be known later in 2023 as various options are explored.

The learning design team are working hard to make the new system as accessible as possible to people of all levels of digital familiarity.

No special knowledge is required, and the Digital team are already setting up a tool to help volunteers increase their digital confidence. Digital delivery will utilise available technical support for those with required needs.

This will include screen readers, transcripts, subtitles all of which will be tested ahead of delivery by those who will likely use and benefit.

All learning content will work equally well on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Whilst there will be an increase in the digital delivery of learning, it will not mean that face to face sessions are no longer available.Some content is best delivered through this format especially where “hands on” learning is a key part of the experience.


Making easier to progress

We will see less requirement for validation as more will be built into the delivered content along the lines currently in place for Module 1, GDPR, Safety, Safeguarding and Trustee Introduction.

It has also been identified that the Wood Badge needs a degree of review so that it remains both accessible and relevant. The suggestion however that it is essential for all adults to be effective leaders is not considered to be the case. So, with Transformation will come the change that means a Wood Badge is no longer a requirement and becomes optional.

A new learning tool will form part of the new digital system supporting this change. Features will include:

  • Learning accessible all in one place
  • Improved accessibility features and support for all
  • Easy reporting and management of learning, including compliance
  • Recognition of learning previously completed in Scouting
  • Updated and improved Core Learning

The proposal

Learning will comprise of two levels:

  1. Core Learning – required for all appointments
  2. Wood Badge – available to all appointments

Core Learning will replace “Getting Started” and be broadened to provide everything that a volunteer needs to start delivering a safe, challenging, structured and exciting programme. It is envisaged that the time taken to complete this learning will be significantly less than the current Wood Badge.

The breakdown

Current thinking is that the core learning will be split into:

  • Things that everyone needs to know : Data Protection, Safe Scouting (safety, safeguarding, risk assessments), Inclusion and What we need to know and how to do it (purpose, values, communication, and programmes)
  • Things that you would need for your type of role, working with people (parents, other adults, young leaders), Being a Trustee, Being a manager.

In addition, first aid will be a requirement but the specifics of who requires this are currently being considered.

The Wood Badge will be available to all and not be time bound in respect of completion. It is likely to be constructed in a dynamic format with options to undertake and complete building up a series of “credits” towards the award.

A period of transition will be introduced once final details are known which will allow for completed learning to be mapped to any new scheme. It is not envisaged that any learning will need to be redone, duplicated or reassessed.

No learning will need to be reviewed or repeated on a change of Section though a discussion with the line manager / team leader may be appropriate if certain skills are required.


What will stay the same:
  • The requirement for regular refresh of key mandatory training; Safety, Safeguarding and First Aid, currently on a three-year cycle will remain.
  • The current arrangements: Getting Started and Wood Badge remain in place until the new scheme is launched and transition arrangements in place. Scout Districts and Counties have been instructed by Headquarters to continue in providing existing training opportunities and validation activities.
  • The current Manager & Supporter training scheme is unaffected by these proposed Wood Badge changes as that scheme will be reviewed in 2024 and any adjustments, amendments or changes announced around that time.


More information about the components of Core Learning and when it is to be introduced are likely to be announced mid-2023 with changes being implemented in 2024. Details around the changes to the Wood Badge Scheme are expected later in the year.


Individuals, line managers, training support and training delivery should continue in 2023 to provide opportunities to receive and complete training for all volunteers as currently required.

We want to get to a place where new volunteers in Gloucestershire might say…



“The training I’ve completed so far has been so helpful and easy to absorb – I’ve really enjoyed it”